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Card Player Player of the Year

[SS] “Happy New Year!” Stan the Stat exclaimed.

[LL] “More importantly, good riddance to 2017!” Leroy the Lion insisted.

[SS] “You said the same thing last year.”

[LL] “I didn’t expect 2017 to be so much worse than 2016.”

[SS] “Well, you may not have had a great year, but Spaniard Adrian Mateos, at a mere 23 years old, certainly did. As did American Bryn Kenney, whom he edged out for Card Player Player of the Year honors in the closest race ever.1 Kenney tied the record of 5 titles and set the record with 23 final tables, one more than Mateos, and even won a year-high $8,201,128, over $2.5 million more than Mateos, who notably became the first non-American to win the title.2

Kudos also to Fedor Holz who followed a runner-up finish last year with third place this year.”

Card Player Player of the Year – 1997 to 2003

Year Winner
1997 Men Nguyen
1998 T.J. Cloutier
1999 Tony Ma
2000 David Pham
2001 Men Nguyen
2002 T.J. Cloutier
2003 Men Nguyen

Card Player Player of the Year – 2004 to Present

Year Winner Points Runner-Up Points Margin
2004 Daniel Negreanu 8,764 David Pham 7,068 19.4%
2005 Men Nguyen 5,204 John Phan 4,428 14.9%
2006 Michael Mizrachi 5,989 Nam Le 5,215 12.9%
2007 David Pham 6,562 J.C. Tran 5,748 12.4%
2008 John Phan 6,704 David Pham 6,022 10.2%
2009 Eric Baldwin 6,994 Cornel Cimpan 5,934 15.2%
2010 Tom Marchese 6,738 Dwyte Pilgrim 5,576 17.2%
2011 Ben Lamb 6,036 Chris Moorman 5,875 2.7%
2012 Greg Merson 5,100 Dan Smith 5,040 1.2%
2013 Daniel Negreanu 5,140 Paul Volpe 4,298 16.4%
2014 Daniel Colman 5,498 Ami Barer 5,042 8.3%
2015 Anthony Zinno 6,632 Joe Kuether 6,070 8.5%
2016 David Peters 8,601 Fedor Holz 7,058 17.9%
2017 Adrian Mateos 7,220 Bryn Kenney 7,173 0.7%

Notes:

  • Men Nguyen won the award a record four times (1997, 2001, 2003, and 2005).
  • T.J. Cloutier (1998 and 2002), David Pham (2000 and 2007), and Daniel Negreanu (2004 and 2013) have won twice each.
  • Negreanu outpointed second place by the largest (2004) and third largest (2013) margins. Merson (2012) eked by with the smallest margin. { January 4, 2018 update: Mateos edged Kenney by a mere 47 points (0.7%) for the 2017 crown. Fedor Holz finished third for a second consecutive medal finish. }

Here are the all-time records for Points, Titles, and Final Tables with data going back to the rule changes of 2004.

Most Player of the Year Points

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2004 Daniel Negreanu 8,764 4 11 $4,420,221
2 2016 David Peters 8,601 5 22 $7,370,255
3 2017 Adrian Mateos 7,220 4 22 $5,664,635
4 2017 Bryn Kenney 7,173 5 23 $8,201,128
5 2004 David Pham 7,068 5 15 $1,533,268
6 2016 Fedor Holz 7,058 6 15 $16,288,714
7 2009 Eric Baldwin 6,994 4 17 $1,494,494
8 2010 Tom Marchese 6,738 2 11 $2,068,658
9 2008 John Phan 6,704 3 8 $2,075,323
10 2015 Anthony Zinno 6,632 5 11 $3,442,769

Notes:

  • David Pham was the first player to finish in the Top 10 three times (2004 [2nd], 2007 [1st], and 2008 [1st]). Jason Mercier matched him in 2015 and Justin Bonomo and David Peters in 2016. Many players (16 through 2017) have done it twice.
  • Erik Seidel and Jason Mercier are the only players to finish in the Top 25 five times. Phan, Peters, Dan Smith, Daniel Negreanu, J.C. Tran, John Juanda, Steve O’Dwyer, Erick Lindgren, and Joseph Mckeehen have each done it four times.
  • Vanessa Selbst is the only women to finish in the Top 25, which she had done three times with two Top 10 finishes before retiring at the start of 2018.

Most Titles

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2005 John Hoang 3,267 6 17 $492,817
2008 Men Nguyen 3,662 10 $776,832
2012 Dan Smith 5,040 9 $3,673,806
4 2017 Bryn Kenney 7,173 5 23 $8,201,128
2016 David Peters 8,601 22 $7,370,255
2005 Men Nguyen 5,204 17 $1,004,718
2004 David Pham 7,068 15 $1,533,268
2010 Dwyte Pilgrim 5,576 13 $1,074,997
2004 Can Kim Hua 4,495 12 $785,779
2015 Anthony Zinno 6,632 11 $3,442,769
2014 Joseph Mckeehen 3,266 11 $1,223,852
2004 John Phan 3,080 10 $677,045
2009 Jason Mercier 4,130 9 $1,245,876

Most Final Tables

Rank Year Player Points Titles Final Tables Winnings
1 2017 Bryn Kenney 7,173 5 23 $8,201,128
2 2016 David Peters 8,601 5 22 $7,370,255
2017 Adrian Mateos 7,220 $5,664,635
2004 Gioi Luong 5,006 $504,004
5 2004 John Cernuto 3,631 3 19 $460,789
6 2005 John Hoang 3,267 6 17 $492,817
2005 Men Nguyen 5,204 5 $1,004,718
2009 Eric Baldwin 6,994 4 $1,494,494
10 2010 Sorel Mizzi 4,851 4 16 $1,524,371

Notes:

  • Luong tops this list but is hardly a household name. The Californian has never won a WSOP bracelet, and his biggest cash was $290,792 for a runner-up finish in a WSOP circuit event in 2007.
  • While it seems obvious to have another list with the top ten in Winnings, it’s a rather uninteresting list topped by the 2014 and 2012 One Drop winners followed by eight WSOP Main Event champs.

Footnotes:

  1. In 2012, Greg Merson beat Dan Smith by 60 points (5,100 to 5,040) for a 1.18% margin, while Mateos overcame Kenney by just 57 points and a mere 0.65%.
  2. Mateos first made a name for himself by winning the 2013 WSOP Europe Main Event in 2013 when he was just 19.

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European Poker Tour Career Leaders

[SS] “Here are the career leaders in earnings, cashes, final tables, and titles at the end of the European Poker Tour’s eleventh complete season. { Note: updated below }

EPT Career Earnings

Rank Player Earnings
1 Bertrand Grospellier $5,794,666
2 Jason Mercier $5,792,782
3 Scott Seiver $5,681,622
4 Steve O’Dwyer $5,455,589
5 Mike McDonald $5,177,101
6 Igor Kurganov $4,881,439
7 Tobias Reinkemeier $4,406,326
8 Philipp Gruissem $4,100,541
9 Martin Finger $4,087,326
10 Olivier Busquet $4,065,442

Notes:

  • Other notable players in the top 20: Eugene Katchalov (12th: $3,874,218), Daniel Negreanu (14th: $3,703,145), Erik Seidel (17th: $3,555,153), and Daniel Colman (19th: $3,469,849).
  • The top three women are Vanessa Selbst (11th: $3,959,891), Victoria Coren Mitchell (55th: $2,062,619) and Liv Boeree (59th: $1,995,160).

EPT Career Cashes

Rank Player Cashes
1 Konstantin Puchkov 72
2 Marcin Horecki 47
3 Pierre Neuville 45
4 Jan Bendik 43
5 Roberto Romanello 40
Bertrand Grospellier
7 Mihails Morozovs 39
8 Rumen Nanev 38
9 Ole Schemion 37
10 Andrew Chen 36
Alexander Orlov

Notes:

  • Romanello and Grospellier are the only players on this list who have won an EPT title.
  • Ana Laura Marquez Esteban leads all women with 24 Cashes (tied for 72nd). Florence Allera has 22 (tied for 89th).

EPT Career Final Tables

Rank Player Final Tables
1 Konstantin Puchkov 31
2 Ole Schemion 25
3 Marcin Horecki 23
Juha Helppi
5 Jan Bendik 21
6 Mihails Morozovs 20
Mike McDonald
Alexander Orlov
Bryn Kenney
10 Anton Wigg 19
Andrew Chen
Steve O’Dwyer
Dario Alioto
Marcel Luske

Notes:

  • EPT final tables consist of eight players.
  • Despite leading in both Cashes and Final Tables, Konstantin Puchkov ranks only 164nd in Earnings ($1,173,368).
  • McDonald, Wigg, and O’Dwyer are the only players on this list who have won an EPT title.
  • Vanessa Selbst leads all women with 13 Final Tables (tied for 47th). Victoria Coren Mitchell has 10 (tied for 79th).
  • The United States has reached the final table the most times, followed by the United Kingdom and France.

EPT Career Titles

Victoria Coren Mitchell is the only player with two EPT titles, having taken down the EPT London Main Event on September 24, 2006 and the EPT Sanremo Main Event on April 20, 2014.

Notes:

  • Sandra Naujoks (2009 EPT German Open) and Liv Boeree (2010 EPT Sanremo) are the only other women to win an EPT main event.
  • The United States and United Kingdom are currently tied with 16 winners each, three ahead of Germany.”

[LL] “Epic Poker Tables, Stan!” Leroy the Lion admired.

{ December 28, 2016: Final Update. With the EPT being rebranded as PokerStars Championships in 2017, the above Top Ten tables have been updated one last time below. }

Final EPT Career Earnings

Rank Player Earnings
1 Steve O’Dwyer $9,608,236
2 Ole Schemion $6,725,657
3 Mike McDonald $6,461,551
4 Igor Kurganov $6,349,727
5 Scott Seiver $6,030,039
6 Mustapha Kanit $6,001,495
7 Jason Mercier $5,980,237
8 Bertrand Grospellier $5,855,951
9 Martin Finger $5,423,635
10 Bryn Kenney $5,042,835

Final EPT Career Cashes

Rank Player Cashes
1 Konstantin Puchkov 87
2 Pierre Neuville 67
3 Jan Bendik 63
4 Georgios Zisimopoulos 58
5 Marcin Horecki 57
6 Mike McDonald 56
7 Atanas Kavrakov 55
8 Ole Schemion 54
9 Steve O’Dwyer 52
Andrew Chen

Final EPT Career Final Tables

Rank Player Final Tables
1 Konstantin Puchkov 38
2 Ole Schemion 35
3 Steve O’Dwyer 32
4 Tobias Hausen 29
Marcin Horecki
Jan Bendik
7 Georgios Zisimopoulos 28
Alexander Orlov
Mike McDonald
10 Juha Helppi 27
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European Poker Tour Grand Final


[SS] “The EPT Grand Final1 has always had a 10,000-euro buy-in, but its rake has slowly crept up from 0 to 300 to 600 euros”, Stan the Stat continued. “The tournament originally ended the EPT season in March, but that has been in late April or early May since 2009.

European Poker Tour Grand Final Champions

Year Winner Prize Players Cashed Runner Up
2005 Rob Hollink $845,190 211 27 Brandon Schaefer
2006 Jeff Williams $1,084,037 298 27 Arshad Hussain
2007 Gavin Griffin $2,434,060 706 64 Marc Karam
2008 Glen Chorny $3,196,354 842 64 Denes Kalo
2009 Pieter De-Korver $3,024,167 935 88 Matt Woodward
2010 Nicolas Chouity $2,263,166 848 128 Josef Klinger
2011 Ivan Freitez-Rosales $2,226,345 686 104 Torsten Brinkmann
2012 Mohsin Charania $1,782,343 665 96 Lucille Cailly
2013 Steve O’Dwyer $1,604,972 531 80 Andrew Pantling
2014 Antonio Buonanno $1,715,526 650 95 Jack Salter
2015 Adrian Mateos2 $1,211,836 564 79 Muhyedine Fares
2016 Jan Bendik3 $1,096,568 1,098 159 Adrien Allain

Notes:

  • Three Americans have won the EPT Grand Final — Williams, Griffin, and Charania — but you could also include O’Dwyer, who moved to Ireland after the major online poker sites shut down in the U.S. on Black Friday. No other country has won more than twice; Hollink and De-Korver both hail from the Netherlands.
  • 2007 runner-up Marc Karam is the only player who has reached the final table multiple times, finishing 4th the year before. Ben Grundy almost matched him, finishing 7th in 2005 and bubbling (9th) the following year.4
  • 2012 runner-up Frenchwoman Lucille Cailly is the only female to make the final table.
  • The 2008 event featured the largest first prize in EPT history ($3,196,354), but the following year had the most players (935).
  • After paying fewer than 10% of the players from 2006 to 2009, including a low of 7.6% in 2008, the EPT has rewarded about 15% of the field since 2010.

European Poker Tour Grand Final Final Hands

Year Winner Hand Value Runner Up Hand Value Board
2005 Rob Hollink J♠8♠ Two Pairs,
Jacks and 8s
Brandon Schaefer K♦7♠ Pair of Kings K♣9♦5♥8♣J♣
2006 Jeff Williams A♦T♣ Pair of 7s,
Ace Ten-kicker
Arshad Hussain A♥8♦ Pair of 7s,
Ace 9-kicker
5♥9♥7♠7♦3♣
2007 Gavin Griffin K♦5♣ Two Pairs,
Kings and 3s
Marc Karam 7♠4♠ Two Pairs,
4s and 3s
4♦3♣2♠3♥K♥
2008 Glen Chorny A♥5♥ Two Pairs,
Aces and 6s
Denes Kalo K♥Q♦ Two Pairs,
Queens and 6s
A♠Q♠6♠6♣T♦
2009 Pieter De-Korver 9♠6♠ Pair of 6s,
Queen Ten 9-kicker
Matt Woodward 6♦4♥ Pair of 6s,
Queen Ten 7-kicker
5♥T♥6♥Q♠7♠
2010 Nicolas Chouity A♦A♣ Pair of Aces Josef Klinger 8♦8♣ Pair of 8s K♦T♠9♥4♠Q♣
2011 Ivan Freitez-Rosales T♦9♦ Pair of 9s Torsten Brinkmann A♥K♦ Ace-high 9♠2♠5♥6♦8♣
2012 Mohsin Charania Q♠Q♥ Two Pairs,
Queens and 2s
Lucille Cailly A♦K♣ Pair of 2s 9♣3♥2♣7♠2♥
2013 Steve O’Dwyer T♣8♥ Four 8s Andrew Pantling K♠5♠ Flush,
King-high
J♠8♠8♦4♠8♣
2014 Antonio Buonanno A♠4♥ Ace-high Jack Salter K♦7♦ King-high J♥9♠2♥Q♦3♠
2015 Adrian Mateos2 A♥8♠ Two Pairs,
Queens and 8s
Muhyedine Fares A♠6♠ Pair of Queens 9♥8♥2♦Q♠Q♣
2016 Jan Bendik3 T♠T♦ Three Tens Adrien Allain 8♥8♦ Three Eights A♥8♣4♠T♥3♦

Notes:

  • The chips went all-in preflop every year except 2005 (river), 2007 (flop), 2009 (flop), and 2013 (turn).
  • The eventual winner got his money in good every time except 2007 (45%), 2011 (40%), and 2013 (23%, hitting a 10-outer on the river). In 2009, De-Korver was ahead on the flop, but Woodward actually had a better chance of winning (44% to 32% with a 24% chance of a push) because of his nine flush outs.”

Footnotes:

  1. The season-ending EPT championship was officially called the European Poker Tour Grand Final from 2004 to 2011 but has been referred to as the EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final since 2012.
  2. Adrian Mateos took down the 2015 title just hours after this article was posted.
  3. Jan Bendik won the final 2016 title on May 6, 2016.
  4. Johnny Lodden joined Karam with a third place finish in 2014 and a fourth in 2015.

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Aussie Millions

[SS] “Did you guys see that Phil Ivey won the Aussie Millions Super High Roller again?” Stan the Stat queried.

[RR] “The guy’s not human”, Roderick the Rock noted in assent.

[LL] “How many times has he won it now?” Leroy the Lion inquired.

[SS] “Three times in the last four years, although he also played in the first event in 2011.”

[RR] “That’s insane.”

[SS] “Yeah, even with the small fields — 20, 16, 18, 30, and 25 — three wins over such a tough group of pros is incredible. I don’t know what secrets he’s figured out, but he’s taken in almost a third of his career tournament earnings here1.”

[RR] “Who won the Main Event this year?”

[SS] “Manny Stavropoulos, a local from South Melbourne. He’s a cash game player who also plays in many of the big tournaments in Australia but previously had only amassed about $135,000 in tournament earnings and never won an event. He returned the crown to the home country after three years:

Aussie Millions Champions

Year Winner Prize Players Cashed Runner Up
1998 Alex Horowitz $15,693 74 9 Ken Eastwood
1999 Milo Nadalin $24,801 109 18 Adam Haman
2000 Leo Boxell $38,483 109 18 Gerry Fitt
2001 Sam Korman $28,368 101 18 Eric Sclavos
2002 John Maver $78,030 66 10 John Homann
2003 Peter Costa $221,862 122 18 Leo Boxell
2004 Tony Bloom $323,456 133 18 Jesse Jones
2005 Jamil Dia $777,442 263 40 Mike Simkin
2006 Lee Nelson $949,694 418 48 Robert Neary
2007 Gus Hansen2 $1,192,919 747 80 Jimmy Fricke
2008 Alexander Kostritsyn $1,450,396 780 80 Erik Seidel
2009 Stewart Scott $1,420,737 681 64 Peter Rho
2010 Tyron Krost $1,845,921 746 72 Frederik Jensen
2011 David Gorr $1,978,044 721 72 James Keys
2012 Oliver Speidel $1,647,158 659 72 Kenneth Wong
2013 Mervin Chan $1,689,118 629 64 Joseph Cabret
2014 Ami Barer $1,399,739 668 72 Sorel Mizzi
2015 Manny Stavropoulos $1,264,222 648 72 Lennart Uphoff
2016 Ari Engel $1,120,110 732 80 Tony Dunst
2017 Shurane Vijayaram $1,208,368 725 80 Ben Heath
2018 Toby Lewis $1,156,205 800 88 Stefan Huber
2019 Bryn Kenney $916,271 822 88 Michael Del Vecchio

Notes:

  • An Australian has won the title 11 times: the first five from 1998 to 2002, four in a row from 2009 to 2012, 2015, and 2017.
  • No other country has won more than twice (England in 2003 and 2004; New Zealand 2005 and 2006). The remaining title have been captured by Denmark (2007), Russia (2008), Malaysia (2013), and Canada (2014).
  • An American was the runner-up every year from 2004 to 2009 before Ari Engel finally broke through and won it all in 2016.
  • The event was originally known as the [Crown] Australian Poker Championships, has also been referred to as the Australasian Poker Championships, and has officially been the Aussie Millions Poker Championship since 2003.
  • The events took place in the winter (July and August) the first four years before moving to the summer (January then late January to early February) in 2002.
  • The Main Event was contested in Limit Hold ‘Em in 1998 and Pot Limit Hold ‘Em in 1999 but has been No Limit ever since 2000.
  • The buy-in increased from $1,000 Australian dollars in 1998 to $1,500 in 2000 to $5,000 in 2002 to $10,000 since 2003.”

[SS] “Unfortunately, many of the final hands from the early years have been lost, at least as far as the Internet is concerned, but here’s what I could find:

Aussie Millions Final Hands3

Year Winner Hand Value Runner Up Hand Value Board
1998 Alex Horowitz unknown Ken Eastwood unknown
1999 Milo Nadalin Two Pairs,
6s and 5s
Adam Haman A♣7♥ Pair of 6s 6♣6♥4♠K♠
2000 Leo Boxell Three 6s Gerry Fitt Pair of 6s
2001 Sam Korman Q♣4♦ Flush,
Ace-high
Eric Sclavos 8♦7♦ Straight,
9-high
9♠5♣6♣9♣A♣
2002 John Maver unknown John Homann unknown
2003 Peter Costa unknown Leo Boxell unknown
2004 Tony Bloom Three 3s Jesse Jones Two Pairs,
Kings and 3s
3♠3♥7♦
2005 Jamil Dia unknown Mike Simkin unknown
2006 Lee Nelson J♣5♣ Flush,
Ace King Queen Jack-high
Robert Neary 4♣2♣ Flush,
Ace King Queen 4-high
A♣6♥Q♣K♣K♠
2007 Gus Hansen A♥A♣ Pair of Aces Jimmy Fricke 9♣7♣ Pair of 9s Q♦8♦6♣2♣9♠
2008 Alexander Kostritsyn J♥9♥ Pair of Jacks Erik Seidel A♠Q♣ Ace-high J♦8♠7♠3♥K♥
2009 Stewart Scott A♠A♦ Two Pairs,
Aces and 9s
Peter Rho A♥J♣ Pair of 9s 2♠9♦8♥4♦9♠
2010 Tyron Krost K♠9♦ Two Pairs,
Kings and 2s,
9 kicker
Frederik Jensen K♦6♠ Two Pairs,
Kings and 2s,
7 kicker
K♣3♥2♦7♥2♣
2011 David Gorr K♣4♣ Pair of 4s James Keys 7♣3♣ Pair of 3s 7♠6♣3♥K♥4♠
2012 Oliver Speidel A♠A♣ Pair of Aces Kenneth Wong 9♣9♥ Pair of 9s K♠T♠8♥4♣7♥
2013 Mervin Chan 8♠6♠ Three 8s Joseph Cabret A♦3♦ Two Pairs,
8s and 3s
8♣7♦3♣8♦K♥
2014 Ami Barer A♥A♠ Full House,
Aces over 2s
Sorel Mizzi Q♦8♦ Pair of 2s 2♣K♠2♥3♥A♦
2015 Manny Stavropoulos J♦T♠ Straight,
Jack-high
Lennart Uphoff T♦6♦ Straight,
Ten-high
A♦9♠8♦7♥8♥
2016 Ari Engel J♠7♣ Pair of Jacks Tony Dunst A♣4♣ Pair of 4s T♠4♦2♥J♣9♠
2017 Shurane Vijayaram 5♥5♦ Pair of 5s Ben Heath K♠8♣ King high 9♣7♠6♥3♥Q♠
2018 Toby Lewis Q♦T♦ Three Queens Stefan Huber A♠8♦ Pair of Queens Q♠Q♥8♥7♠5♠

Notes:

  • There was no deciding hand in 2019 as an ICM deal was struck three-way.
  • Pocket Aces won on the final hand four times from 2007 to 2014.
  • Stacks are still reasonably deep heads up. The chips went all-in preflop 4 times (1999, 2009, 2012, and 2014), on the flop 4 times (2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010), on the turn 3 times (2000, 2011, and 2013), and on the river 6 times (2001, 2006, and 2015-2018) [unknown the remaining 4 years (1998, 2002, 2003, and 2005)4].”

[SS] “Lastly, two players have reached three final tables,5 and nine have reached two.”

  • 3: Leo Boxell (1998 [4th], 2000 [1st], and 2003 [2nd]) and Martin Comer (2000 [5th], 2003 [7th], and 2005 [4th]).
  • 2: David Gorr (1998 [3rd] and 2011 [1st]), Gerry Fitt (2000 [2nd] and 2001 [7th]; the first back-to-back final tablist), Jamil Dia (2001 [6th] and 2005 [1st]), Jason Gray (1998 [6th] and 2000 [4th]), Lee Nelson (2002 [4th] and 2006 [1st]; also 8th in 2001), Mike Ivin (1998 [5th] and 2004 [7th]), Sam Khouiss (1999 [4th] and 2003 [4th]), Sorel Mizzi (2010 [3rd] and 2014 [2nd]), and Toby Atroshenko (2001 [4th] and 2002 [6th]; the second back-to-back final tablist).
  • Honorable Mention: Gary Benson (2000 [3rd] and 2005 [8th]) and Patrik Antonius (2011 [8th] and 2013 [3rd]).

Footnotes:

  1. Ivey’s career tournament earnings are now just over $22 million, of which $7.3 million have come from the Aussie Millions Super High Roller (in 2015, officially called The LK Boutique Challenge as it was sponsored by LK Jewellery).
  2. Amazingly, Gus Hansen planned to write a book about his 2007 Aussie Millions run and then went on to win the event! That certainly gave a huge boost to the sales of Every Hand Revealed in which Hansen shares his thoughts on every important hand he played.
  3. { Updates: } 2019 data added Feburary 27, 2019. 2018 data added February 8, 2018. 2017 data added February 3, 2017. 2016 data added March 16, 2016.
  4. Any information about the missing final hands would be most appreciated!
  5. Play starts eight-handed and drops to six-handed at 36 players, but the official final table is seven players according to Wikipedia’s Aussie Millions article.

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Texas Hold ‘Em for the Blind and Visually Impaired

[DD] “Did you guys notice Figaro the Fish trying to teach his nephew Flounder how to play Texas Hold ‘Em?” Deb the Duchess asked, still smiling from collecting her half-pot from their Main Event wager.

[RR] “I was very tempted to jump in to save the little guy from having to unlearn everything his uncle teaches him”, Roderick the Rock admitted. “But I managed to suppress the urge.”

[LL] “I don’t think they’d been here five minutes when I heard Figaro rambling on about coloring up, squeeze plays, and Post Oak bluffs”, Leroy the Lion added.

[TT] “You may think it’s the blind leading the blind / but the elder fish is sadly maligned”, Tyrone the Telephone complained.

[DD] “We’re just teasing him, you know.”

[RR] “Besides, what would Texas Hold ‘Em be without the blinds?”

[LL] “Even the blind can play Hold ‘Em.”

[SS] “Yeah, do you remember back in 2007, when Hal Lubarsky became the first blind player to cash in the World Series of Poker Main Event?” Stan the Stat contributed.

[RR] “I’m surprised I haven’t seen another blind player on TV since then. I guess that wasn’t enough to make the game popular in the blind and visually impaired community.”

[LL] “Braille playing cards and poker chips that come in different shapes aren’t that expensive, but I guess it’s still a big challenge to make sure you collect the entire pot and pick up all the cards each hand.”

[DD] “At least they have a great iPhone and iPad app to learn and practice Hold ‘Em with now. THETA Poker Pro has always been fully accessible, but most of the recent updates have been to improve accessibility. Apparently, you don’t even need to find your cards on the table to play anymore! I played with VoiceOver on for a while because it was cool to hear all the action announced, but sighted users gained that feature with iOS 7.”1

[RR] “So, Siri tells you what your hole cards are and announces the community cards and all the bets?”

[DD] “Yes. And the player who’s won the hand, their cards, and hand strength.”

[LL] “Can you ask Siri for advice on how to play the hand?”

[DD] “Very funny. You can tell her, ‘Launch THETA Poker’, but if you want more than that, try emailing the developer.”

[RR] “We’d certainly welcome blind players to our home tourney.”

[LL] “All new players for that matter. We’ll have Figaro teach them so they don’t get better than us too quickly.”

[TT] “When I find a blind player trying to steal my blind, I won’t be resigned / I’ll respond in kind, put him in a bind, take his chips with three-of-a-kind.”

Footnotes:

  1. Voice announcements were added to the game for iOS 7 users in Version 1.2.1 on September 23, 2013. Go to the “Options/Music & Sound/Announce” menu and select either “Messages Only” or “All”.

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Irish Open


[SS] “Do you guys know what the second oldest still-running Texas Hold ‘Em event is?” Stan the Stat teased.

[RR] “After the World Series of Poker?” Roderick the Rock surmised.

[SS] “Yep.”

[RR] “I have no idea.”

[LL] “Isn’t it the Irish Open?” Leroy the Lion offered. “A bunch of the Irish guys at the pub tournament talk about it occasionally.”

[SS] “Right you are. Irish bookmaker Terry Rogers was in Las Vegas on a business trip when the 1979 World Series of Poker was happening and befriended Irish American Benny Binion. The Red Menace, Rogers’ nickname on account of his flaming hair, had already been running charity tournaments with ‘Gentleman’ Liam Flood at their Eccentrics Club,1 so the following year they transformed the events into the Irish Open, usually held each year on Easter weekend.2 The event became the Paddy Poker Irish Open in 2005 and is now awkwardly called the paddypowerpoker.com Irish Open.”

[SS] “The Main Event of the 32nd3 Irish Open begins today, with a €2,000+250 entry fee and will run for four days to crown a champion to add to this winners’ list.”

Irish Open Champions4

Year Winner Prize5 Entrants Cashed6 Runner-Up
1980 Colette Doherty $22,000 36 ? ?
1981 Sean Kelly ? ? ? ?
1982 Frank Conway ? ? ? ?
1983 Jimmy Langan ? ? ? ?
1984 Tony Byrne $25,578 ~36 ? Liam Flood
1985 Irene Tier ? ? ? Frank Mifsud
1986 Bryan McCarthy ? ? ? ?
1987 Noel Furlong ? ? ? ?
1988 Jimmy Langan ? ? ? ?
1989 Noel Furlong ? ? ? ?
1990 Liam Flood $19,646 ? ? ?
1991 Colette Doherty ? ? ? ?
1992 Noel Furlong ? ? ? ?
1993 Christy Smith ? ? ? ?
1994 Mickey Finn $22,110 39 9 George McKeever
1996 Liam Flood ? ? ? ?
1999 Liam Barker $26,067 76 13 Jenny Hegarty
2000 Alan Betson $26,443 79 12 Julian Gardner
2001 Jenny Hegarty $31,922 92 8 Paul Cryan
2002 Nick Beirne $18,521 67 9 Allan Gallagher
2003 Joe Beevers $54,971 105 9 Frank Callaghan
2004 Ivan Donaghy $80,068 107 9 Robert McGuirk
2005 John Falconer $189,421 170 18 Alan Betson
2006 Vincent Melinn $423,647 339 36 Ian Woodley
2007 Marty Smyth $867,546 708 72 Roland De Wolfe
2008 Neil Channing $1,263,261 667 72 Donal Norton
2009 Christer Johansson $793,882 700 72 Kara Scott
2010 James Mitchell $809,094 708 72 Paul Carr
2011 Niall Smyth $790,580 615 64 Surinder Sunar
2012 Kevin Vandersmissen $553,316 502 54 Thomas Beer
2013 Ian Simpson $339,604 505 54 Michael Farrelly
2014 Patrick Clarke $276,380 411 47 Dave Pollock
2015 Ioannis Triantafyllakis $226,684 321 36 Kevin Killeen
2016 Daniel Wilson $167,920 802 95 Michael Conaty
2017 Griffin Benger $212,000 1,129 135 Michael Mazilu

[SS] “Some interesting factoids from the event:”

  • After Colette Doherty won the first Irish Open in 1980, Rogers convinced her to enter the World Series of Poker Main Event even though she didn’t know how to play Texas Hold ‘Em (the Irish Open was 5-card stud that first year). She was the first woman and the first European to play in the WSOP Main Event but didn’t survive the first day when Bob Hooks upended her full house with a bigger boat. In 2000, she finished 12th in the WSOP $1,000+60 Women’s Championship (Limit Hold’em/7 Card Stud).
  • Two other women have won the Irish Open: Irene Tier in 1985 and Jenny Hegarty, who became the event’s oldest winner as a 72-year old grandmother in 2001! She had previously finished 2nd in 1999 and 8th in 1994.
  • Jimmy Langan became the first two-time champion in 1988. Noel Furlong joined him the next year, Doherty in 1991, and Liam Flood in 1996.3
  • Noel Furlong became the only three-time champion in 1992 and conquered the WSOP Main Event seven years later (fellow Irishmen Padraig Parkinson [3rd] and George McKeever [7th] also did well). Furlong also finished 2nd in his first Irish Open in 1984, 3rd in 2002, and 32nd in 2011; he also finished 6th in the WSOP Main Event in 1989. Rogers is credited with teaching Furlong how to play poker.
  • Julian Gardner was runner-up at both the 2000 Irish Open and the 2002 WSOP Main Events.
  • Englishman Neil Channing won the biggest first prize in the Irish Open in 2008, when the entry fee peaked at 4,200€+300, as he survived a field of 667 players to take home the event’s only million-dollar prize of $1,263,261 (801,400€).
  • The largest field, however, was a tie between 2007 and 2010, with 708 players, just eight more than in 2009. The 2007 event set a record for the largest Hold ‘Em tournament in Europe.
  • While the majority of the champions have been Irish, there have been three Americans (Kelly, Byrne, and Beirne), five Englishmen (Beevers, Falconer, Channing, Mitchell, and Simpson), a Swede (Johansson), and a Belgian (Vandersmissen).
  • The entry fee has jumped around even more than the venue, including 500£ in 1994, 250I£ in 1999, 700+70€ in 2002, a peak of 4,200+300€ in 2008, and a drop down from 3,200+300€ to the current 2,000+250€ in 2013.
  • In 2012, Ian Simpson finished fourth. The following year, he made it to heads up before finishing off Michael Farrelly in a mere three hands. Simpson then proposed successfully to his girlfriend, Emma Rodham. Not what you usually mean when you say someone has a trophy wife.

[LL] “And not the usual ring game for a poker player.”

[RR] “Nor winning a hand.”

[SS] “Speaking of winning hands… Information is very scarce before 2007, but here are all of the winning hands since then:”

Irish Open Final Hands Since 20074

Year Winner Hand Value Runner-Up Hand Value Board
2007 Marty Smyth K♥9♥ Flush,
Ace King-high
Roland De Wolfe T♥3♥ Flush,
Ace Ten-high
A♥8♠6♥8♦2♥
2008 Neil Channing A♣9♥ Three Aces Donal Norton 5♠5♣ Two Pairs,
Aces and 5s
A♠Q♣T♠K♣A♥
2009 Christer Johansson K♣3♥ Pair of Kings Kara Scott J♣9♥ Pair of Jacks J♦7♠K♦Q♠A♦
2010 James Mitchell A♥8♥ Full House,
8s over Jacks
Paul Carr Q♠5♦ Two Pairs,
Jacks and 8s
J♣J♦8♣4♠8♠
2011 Niall Smyth Q♣5♠ Two Pairs,
5s and 3s
Surinder Sunar A♣9♠ Pair of 3s T♥3♣3♦2♦5♥
2012 Kevin Vandersmissen 9♦7♣ Three 9s Thomas Beer A♣K♥ Pair of 9s 9♠4♥3♣8♦9♥
2013 Ian Simpson 4♦3♦ Flush,
Queen-high
Michael Farrelly 7♦4♠ Straight,
8-high
Q♦5♠6♣8♦2♦
2014 Patrick Clarke K♦8♦ Pair of Kings Dave Pollock Q♠7♣ Pair of 7s K♠7♠2♥4♥J♥
2015 Ioannis Triantafyllakis Q♠T♦ Two Pairs,
Qs and 7s
Kevin Killeen A♠2♣ Pair of 7s 7♣4♣Q♦7♥3♥
2016 Daniel Wilson A♣K♣ Two Pairs,
Aces and 6s
Michael Conaty 9♥9♣ Two Pairs,
9s and 6s
A♠5♠2♦6♦6♥
2017 Griffin Benger K♥8♦ Two Pairs,
8s and 2s,
King kicker
Michael Mazilu T♣8♠ Two Pairs,
8s and 2s,
Ten kicker
8♥2♥6♣9♦2♣

[RR] “Was that the Kara Scott, from the poker shows on TV?”

[SS] “Indeed. She won over four hundred thousand dollars for the best result of her poker career.”

Footnotes:

  1. The Irish Open stayed at the Eccentrics Club until 1996. After Rogers passed away in 1999, it moved to the Merrion Casino Club, which remained its home until 2005. The event then bounced around to Jury’s Ballsbridge Hotel in 2006, the Burlington Hotel in 2007, and Citywest Hotel in 2008 and 2009, before returning to the Burlington for good in 2010. The Burlington was renamed the Double Tree by Hilton in 2014. All of the sites have been in Dublin.
  2. The Irish Open’s Main Event has started on Good Friday, or the day before or after, every year that I know of except 2002, when it was held on June 1.
  3. The Irish Open wasn’t held in 1995, 1997, or 1998. Some sources give Charlie Power as the 1995 winner, but Hendon lists that event as the Real Irish Open on March 1, 1995, a small-buyin event (just 50£) with only a 2,500£ first prize (furthermore, Good Friday wasn’t until April 14 in 1995). Other sources say Mickey Finn won his second title in 1998, but with no details like first prize, field size, or his heads-up opponent; Liam Flood himself said there was no event in 1998. That makes this the 32nd event, not the 33rd.
  4. 2014 winners and final hands added on April 26, 2014. 2015 winners and final hands added on April 8, 2015. 2016 winners and final hands added on May 13, 2016. With the entry fee lowered to 1,025+125€, the number of entries jumped from 321 to a record 802. 2017 winners and final hands added on April 4, 2017.
  5. All prizes are given in approximate dollar equivalents. Actual prizes were in pounds until 1994 or 1996, in Irish pounds until 2001, and in euros since.
  6. The number of players who cashed is higher than usual from 1994 to 2002 because the tournament allowed one or two rebuys in those years (e.g., there were 11 rebuys in 2000 and 22 in 2001).

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Poker Player Catchphrases

[RR] “At least a couple of your poker player taglines, like Hachem’s ‘Pass the sugar!’, are also catchphrases”, Roderick the Rock remarked, “Do you have a list of those?”

[SS] “Of course I do”, Stan the Stat confirmed, “albeit with a wide range of catchiness.”

[RR] “Hold ‘Em is full of catches. You can catch a couple cards on the turn and river to catch up and catch your opponent off guard. Catch fire by doing that a few times, catch the chip leaders, and you can catch your big break by making the final table of the WSOP Main Event. That would certainly catch the eye of the poker world, but the break before the November Nine will let you catch your breath, catch forty winks, catch a plane home, and catch up with your life.”

[SS] “Sure. But if you win, don’t catch flak1 by stiffing your partner, like Jamie Gold in 2006,2 or the IRS, whose army can catch tax evaders like Jerry Yang the next year.”3

Poker Player Catchphrases

Player Catchphrase Notes
Mattias Andersson “Jaaaa!” Screamed this every time he won a big pot on his way to finishing in 8th place in the 2004 WSOP Main Event
Jean Robert Bellande “Excellent laydown” Whenever an opponent folds to his bet/raise; also “Good laydown”
Chris Bigler “Yeah, baby!” His yell could be heard at the beginning of World Poker Tour episodes
Doyle Brunson “May the flop be with you!” His sign-off/signature; also “We’re playing poker, not solitaire!” and “You only live once. If you work it right, once is enough.”
Norman Chad “He’s got squadoosh!” Also, “Mazel Tov!” after someone says “Nice hand”, “Whamboozled!”, “Pay the man, Shirley!”, and “The 4 of clubs on the turn has never changed anything.”
Johnny Chan “What’s yours is yours.” After losing a decent-sized pot; He said it after folding to Mike McDermott in Rounders, but the line didn’t make the movie’s final cut.
Sammy Farha “Raisy daisy” Also, “Foldy moldy”, “Are you serious?”, and “You gotta gamble to win”
Tony G “On Yer Bike” When sending someone to the rail; also “Bring on the Russians”, “I have the heeeaarrt”, “I played it like a set”, and “I am qualified”
Joe Hachem “Pass the sugar!” After Hachem won the 2005 Main Event, WSOP commentator Norman Chad declared, “Hachem turned 7-3 offsuit into $7.5 million. Pass the sugar!”; Became the name of his autobiography with Peter Ralph in 2009
Phil Hellmuth “I can dodge bullets, baby!” After avoiding busting out during the 2005 WSOP Main Event; also “Do you know who I am?”, “The guy can’t even spell poker”, etc.
Cliff Josephy “Fwaatchaaaa!” “JohnnyBax”, the #1 ranked online player in 2006, says this repeatedly for all-ins in his PokerXFactor training videos
Mike Matusow “The Kiddie Game is down the street” After showing a successful bluff during the 2005 WSOP Main Event
Tom McEvoy “I get no respect” The 1993 WSOP Main Event winner’s line is similar to comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s “I don’t get no respect”
Jim Meehan “We’re all God’s children” Ironic, as “Minneapolis Jim” was given a timeout during Ultimate Poker Challenge first season championship for foul language, he drinks alcohol at the poker table, and keeps an unlit cigarette in his mouth
Men Nguyen “All you can eat, baby!” I.e., “I’m all-in”; when a waitress brings his Corona, he may say, “All you can drink, baby”; also “Good laydown, sir”
Scotty Nguyen “That’s poker, baby” After a bad beat; also, “What’s up, baby?”, “You call, it’s all over, baby!”, and pretty much any phrase ending in “baby”
Rob Salaburu “Huevos Rancheros” Instead of saying the “nuts”, he references Mexican breakfast food; also, “You lost, bro” when David Balkin thought he’d beaten Gaelle Baumann at showdown but his flopped set of Tens had actually lost to a rivered flush during the 2012 WSOP Main Event.
Marat Sharafutdinov “I wont million” The Russian cab driver “maratik” typed this in the chat box while heads up for the 2012 WCOOP Main Event for $1,000,907, which he won
Kenny Smith “Whatta Player!” Also his nickname, which he earned by yelling the phrase repeatedly while finishing sixth in the 1978 WSOP Main Event and 4th in 1981
Amir Vahedi “In order to live, you must be willing to die” The Iranian pro, with over $3 million in tournament earnings, also says “pull the trigger” instead of “die”
Cory Waaland “GL myself” The young pro, whose nickname “MJ23STYLEz” honors Michael Jordan, is probably a lot more honest than most of the players who type “gl” for “good luck” in the chat box

Footnotes:

  1. Or, if you prefer, “H-E-double hockey sticks”, as long as we’re channeling M*A*S*H today.
  2. Gold had promised half of his winnings, tried to renege, but eventually conceded an unknown amount, but probably the intended $6 million.
  3. Yang’s championship bracelet was put up for auction to help pay his taxes.
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English Idioms from Poker

[RR] “Just saw the tweet of the year this weekend, comparing the end of the Vikings-Ravens football game to a Texas Hold ‘Em hand. Stan, you’d really get along well with the guy, Bill Bowen!”

[SS] “I’m sure I would”, Stan the Stat agreed. “I didn’t see the game, but I caught the highlights, and they were ridiculous! 36 points in two and half minutes!?”1

[RR] “The craziness began with the Vikings up 12-7, but with 1:27 to go in the game, the Vikings led 19-15 and had a win probability2 of 88.8%, which is like holding A♥A♦ all-in preflop against 7♥K♠ (87.7% for the Aces). When Jacoby Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown with 1:16 left, the odds swung to 84.0% in Baltimore’s favor, which would be like a flop of K♦K♥3♠ for a set of Kings (91.4% for the King-Seven). When Matt Cassel hit Cordarrelle Patterson for a 79-yard touchdown with 45 seconds to go, the odds swung back to 96.4% for the Vikings, which is close to the odds after an Ace (A♠) on the turn for a better set (97.7% for the Aces). Finally, the last Ravens drive resulted in a 9-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Marlon Brown with four seconds on the game clock (win probability 98.4%, but the ensuing kickoff killed the final seconds of the game uneventfully), like spiking the case King (K♣) on the river for winning quads.”

[SS] “Who says poker isn’t as exciting as football ;-)?”

[RR] “Poker lingo has seeped into our everyday English lexicon for a long time now, but that was a magnificent modern metaphor.”

[SS] “Speaking of which, here’s my list of poker terms that are now commonly used outside the game.”

Cards/Hands

  • above board: on the level (from keeping your cards above the table in poker so opponents can see that you’re not cheating)
  • ace in the hole: a resource unknown to your opponent (from stud poker, where you have cards that your opponents can’t see)
  • ace up your sleeve: your hidden, possibly unfair, advantage (also “card” instead of “ace”)
  • four-flusher: cheater (from players trying to represent a flush despite having only four instead of five of one suit)
  • have something down pat: well-practiced or memorized (from being dealt a made hand in draw poker, which allows you stand pat and not draw any cards)
  • hold all the cards: control the situation (also, “aces” instead of “cards”)
  • hold your cards close to your vest: keep your thoughts and plans secret (in casinos, this is no longer an acceptable way of hiding your cards’ identities; also “chest” instead of “vest”)
  • lay all your cards on the table: tell the complete truth (from the end of a poker hand when everyone shows their cards)
  • the nuts: the best of something (from Hold ‘Em and other stud games)
  • play the hand you’re dealt: don’t worry about what you can’t change (or “can’t tell what kind of hand you’re playing”)
  • play your cards right: use your resources effectively (the obvious poker advice)
  • showdown: final confrontation (from when players reveal their cards at the end of a poker hand)
  • tip your hand: reveal your intended action (from accidentally revealing your hidden cards to your opponents)
  • wasn’t in the cards: inevitable, possibly because of luck (from the obvious)
  • wild card: unknown variable in a situation (from draw poker and other games with wild cards that can represent any other card)

Chips

  • blue-chip: valuable (from the most valuable poker chips such as when white, red, and blue chips are used; e.g., “blue-chip stock”)
  • cash in your chips: dying; taking a profit (from converting your chips back into legal tender)
  • chip in: contribute (especially from the ante at the beginning of a hand, where each player puts in the same amount of chips)
  • in the chips: rich, or at least currently winning (from the obvious possession of lots of chips)
  • jackpot: a large prize (from jacks-or-better draw poker, where the pot would be “jacked-up” due to the opening qualifier [via slot machines in 1932])
  • stack up against something: compare two items or ideas (from comparing chip stacks physically instead of having to count all the chips)
  • when the chips are down: in a difficult situation (from the obvious lack of poker chips)

Dealing

  • big deal: important (from a hand with a large pot)
  • deal me in: let me participate (from the start of a poker hand)
  • deal off the bottom: cheat (from one way to cheat at cards)
  • dealt a bad hand: unlucky (from the obvious)
  • double dealing: cheating (from dealing a cheating confederate an extra card)
  • lost in the shuffle: easily overlooked amid confusion (from the intentional randomness created when shuffling playing cards)
  • luck of the draw: a result beyond your control (from draw poker, where you discard from your hand and get new cards from the deck)
  • pass the buck: foist responsibility onto another person (from the dealer button, which at times in the 19th century was a buck’s horn-handled hunting knife [via Buckhorn Poker or Buck Poker]3; similarly, “the buck stops here”
  • square deal: honest transaction (from the squaring up of the playing card deck to prevent cheating)
  • stack the deck: arrange things unfairly (from one way of cheating at poker; also “cards” instead of “deck”)

Betting/Folding

  • ante up: contribute (from the start of a hand in some poker games)
  • all-in: committed to an action (from the act of betting all of your chips)
  • bet the farm: stake everything on an action (possibly from before table stakes were common, so you could literally bet any of your possessions in a poker game; or “ranch” instead of “farm”)
  • bet your bottom dollar: all-in (from the bottom dollar representing your whole stack of money or chips)
  • bluff: represent something that isn’t true (from the Dutch bluffen “to brag, boast” or verbluffen “to baffle, mislead”4)
  • fold: quit (from the obvious)
  • know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em: able to tell when to compete and when to give up (from the obvious poker advice and made famous by Kenny Rogers)
  • overplay your hand: pretend to be stronger than you are (from bad poker playing)
  • penny ante: small stakes (from the smallest poker stakes)
  • raise the ante: increase the stakes (from cash games; in most tournaments, you raise the blinds instead; also “stakes” instead of “ante”)
  • sandbag: intentionally play a strong hand weakly (a.k.a. slowplaying in poker)
  • stand pat: take no action (from draw poker, where a pat hand is a straight or better)
  • sweeten the pot: increase the wager (from a bet which is intended to increase the pot size rather than cause anyone to fold)
  • you bet!: agreed (from the obvious)

Other

  • freeroll: a chance at winning something for no cost (from freeroll tournaments which have prizes but no entry fee)
  • on the bubble: on the fence (from the point in a poker tournament where everyone remaining will win money after one more player busts out)
  • poker face: emotionless (from the act of not letting your expression reveal how strong your hand is)
  • tell: mannerism that indicates your position (from any emotion, mannerism, gesture, or oral indication that reveals how strong your hand is)

Footnotes:

  1. Also, a record five touchdowns in 2:01, well under half the four decade-old previous record of 5:40 (Bengals-Oilers in 1972).
  2. You can calculate the win probability given the score, down, field position, and time left in any NFL game (except kickoffs, apparently). {December 24, 2015 update: alas, the real-time calculator no longer seems to be available.}
  3. When silver dollars were used as buttons, they became known as bucks.
  4. Source: bluff entry in the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Flash replayer version of the “hand”

Full Tilt Poker formatted version, suitable for inputting into various poker analysis tools

Full Tilt Poker Game #0000001410: Table M&T Bank Stadium - 50,000/100,000 - No Limit Hold'em - 15:43:21 EDT - 2013/12/08
Seat 1: Minnesota (500,000)
Seat 2: Baltimore (500,000)
Minnesota posts the big blind of 100,000
Baltimore posts the small blind of 50,000
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Baltimore raises to 500,000, and is all in
Minnesota calls 400,000, and is all in
*** FLOP *** [Kd Kh 3s]
*** TURN *** [Kd Kh 3s] [As]
*** RIVER *** [Kd Kh 3s As] [Kc]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Minnesota shows [Ah Ad] full house, Kings over Aces
Baltimore shows [7h Ks] four Kings
Baltimore wins the pot (1,000,000) with four Kings
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1,000,000 | Rake 0
Board: [Kd Kh 3s As Kc]
Seat 1: Minnesota (button) showed [Ah Ad] and lost with full house, Kings over Aces
Seat 2: Baltimore (big blind) showed [7h Ks] and won (1,000,000) with four Kings
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Chip Tricks

[RR] “Stan, all your lists have been poker skill-related or historical. Don’t you have any fun lists?” Roderick the Rock wondered.

[SS] “They’re all fun to me ;-)”, Stan the Stat half-joked. “Okay, I do have one list that has no real value: Poker Chip Tricks.”

[RR] “They have some value; you could use them to psych out your opponents. Leroy the Lion does a few of them.”

[SS] “Amateur (just kidding; he’s much better than me). But he’s still hundreds if not thousands of hours of practice behind the ‘pros’ I’ve seen on YouTube. I’ve seen our feline friend do simple shuffles, flips, and twirls, but there are at least a half dozen more basic types of chip tricks:”

Type Description
Shuffle Shuffle chips like playing cards
Flip Flip a chip from one end of a stack of chips to the other
Twirl Spin a chip around its diameter
Butterfly Spread out a number of chips between your fingers
Knuckle Roll Flip a chip across the backs of your fingers
Chip Roll/Spin Roll or spin a chip on the table
Floater Balance a chip on a finger while doing other tricks
Muscle Pass Use your thumb muscle to launch a chip from your palm
Bounce Bounce a chip off the table onto the top of a chip stack
Miscellaneous Everything else

Shuffle

  • Basic Version: Chip Shuffle (a.k.a. Chip Riffle)
  • Description: Divide a stack of chips (any even number from 6 to 20 or more) into two piles, then, with one hand, shuffle them back into a single pile like playing cards by applying inward pressure as you lift your fingers from the bottom to the top.
  • Tutorial: Rich Ferguson Chip Shuffle tutorial
  • Comments: To learn the Shuffle, you can start with just two chips and work your way up to four, six, eight, and more. It may be easier to learn on a soft surface like a poker table than a hard surface like a desk.
  • Examples: Aerial Shuffle (Shuffle using only the top part of an extra-high stack of chips), Partial Shuffle (start a shuffle but leave the chips balanced with alternate chips sticking out on either side), Air Traffic Control Tower (Partial Aerial Shuffle) and Stephen Au-Yeung Christmas Tree (3 stacks partially shuffled into a tree-shape)

Flip

  • Basic Version: Thumb Flip (a.k.a. Chip Pullover)
  • Description: Start by holding a stack of chips (anywhere from two to six) between the tips of your fingers, use your thumb to roll the outermost chip up your index finger and out of the stack, then push it down at the other end of the stack.
  • Tutorial: Thumb Flip, Finger Flip, and Lookout tutorial
  • Comments: The Thumb Flip is one of the easiest chips trick to learn to do consistently.
  • Examples: Finger Flip (a.k.a. Dutch Boyd Finger Flip; index finger grabs and lifts the outermost coin; demo), Lookout (like a reverse Thumb Flip using the index finger), Run Over (Lookout variation), Back to Front (Thumb Flip from the rear to the front; demo), Thumb Flip Inverse (Thumb Flip + Back to Front), Run Away (Back to Front with an added flip), Thumb Flip Empty (Thumb Flip on the backmost chip, so it spins but ends up in the same place), Pick (index and middle fingers simply lift front chip out and replace in back), Abduction (Pick variation), and Run Around (Pick variation that starts with a partial Thumb Flip on the back chip)

Twirl

  • Basic Version: Twirl
  • Description: Hold a chip between any two fingers (counting the thumb as a finger) and spin 180 degrees or more around a diameter with a third finger.
  • Tutorial: The Twirl itself is too simple for a tutorial but is part of more complicated tricks like the Chip Twirl (a.k.a. Spin and Twirl or Twirl In and Out). flop2river0 Chip Twirl tutorial and Antonio Esfandiari’s Chip Twirl tutorial
  • Comments: Practicing the basic twirl with any three fingers that aren’t thumbs is great for honing the touch you’ll need for many twirl and butterfly tricks.
  • Examples: Swirl (Chip Twirl where the chip gets replaced in front instead of the middle), J-Factor1 (lift, spin, and replace the back chip), Danish Twirl (lift the front chip, twirl the back chip, and replace the front chip in back), Lift Twirl (finger flip to a float, twirl the 2nd chip, and replace the first chip in the middle), Twirl Lift (drop, twirl, lift, and float the back chip, drop, twirl, and replace the middle chip, then replace the float chip), Scissor Twirl (chip twirl plus a extra spin before replacement; Jakub “MisteroCZ” Machata tutorial), Finger to Finger Twirl (drop and twirl bottom chip, twirl top chip and replace behind), Sub Zero (lift, twirl, spin, and replace back chip), Multi Twirl (Twirl of 360 degrees or more), and Twin Twirl (twirl top and bottom chips simultaneously)

Butterfly

  • Basic Version: Butterfly
  • Description: Start by holding a stack of four chips between the finger tips of one hand, split them into two groups of two, then split those so each chip is spread out between each adjacent pair of fingers.
  • Tutorial: Rich Ferguson Butterfly tutorial2) and Joe Ferguson tutorial for the Butterfly
  • Comments: What makes this trick hard is doing things with your fingers as if they were opposable thumbs. Since you’ve spent your whole life not doing that, you’ll need a lot of practice to get the touch. Easier with newer chips before the edges get too smooth.
  • Examples: Four Chip Roll Down (a different way to get to the Butterfly position and one of several chip tricks that began as a coin trick; Antonio Esfandiari tutorial and Rich Ferguson tutorial), Caterpillar (another way to get to the Butterfly position; slow motion, soundless video), Batwing (4-chip position like spreading wings), Butterfly Reverse, Fat Butterfly (8-chip Butterfly with 2 chips between each finger), Balance (end Butterfly chip by balancing chips on fingertips), Quad (4 chips around one finger), 5 Coin Star, Pendulum (3-chip pendulum-like motion), Bicycle (2-chip Butterfly with spinning wheels), Nuage (6 chips in two triangles), 6 Coin Star (5 Coin Star with extra chip in the middle), Galaxy (9 chips in 2 hands), Caterpillar Star (Caterpillar with a fifth chip), Finger Roll (a.k.a., Wagon Wheel if vertical, Flying Saucer if horizontal, and Cycle Round or Sputnik if complete circle; 1 chip moving between fingers; Stephen Au-Yeung Finger Roll tutorial), Finger Roll Combo (rotate two chips between fingers), and Rich Ferguson Rock ‘n Roll (rotate 2 chips around a finger; tutorial from the inventor)

Knuckle Roll

Chip Roll/Spin

  • Basic Version: Backspin (a.k.a. Screwback)
  • Description: Squeeze down the side of a chip with heavy pressure so that when it shoots out, it has enough backspin to come back to you.
  • Tutorial: Sebastien Brouillard Backspin and Drifter tutorial
  • Comments: Different chips and different surfaces will require adjusting how much spin you use. You can use a chip lying on the table as your surface if that helps.
  • Examples: Drifter (Backspin around a stack of chips), Chip Roll (roll chips down one hand and across the table to the other hand; Stephen Au-Yeung tutorial), Roll Around (a.k.a. Stack Roll; roll chip around a chip stack), Top Spin (spin a chip on top of a chip stack), Spin and Stop (spin a chip on the table, and stop its motion by placing a finger on top [best on a hard table]), and Peter Rockne Chip Launching (hold three chips in a stack above one chip that squeezes the upper middle chip out with lots of force and backspin)

Floater

  • Basic Version: Floater (a.k.a. Finger Rest)
  • Description: Balance a chip on a finger while doing other tricks.
  • Tutorial: Like the twirl, the Floater is too simple for a tutorial by itself but is used as part of other tricks.
  • Comments: This is a simple balancing flair used to embellish other tricks.
  • Examples: Antarctica (Float one chip then Twirl a second chip before Floating it on top of the first) and Subway (Float three chips on different fingers after twirling each)

Muscle Pass

  • Basic Version: Muscle Pass (also called Anti-Gravity)
  • Description: Squeeze a chip in the palm of your hand so hard that it shoots upward six inches or more to be caught by your other hand.
  • Tutorial: Antonio Esfandiari tutorial
  • Comments: Esfandiari says that it could takes hundreds of attempts to get the chip to jump the first time. Practice just to build up your muscles even if you get no results. And it hurts, even for a master like him.
  • Examples: Sideways Muscle Pass and Multi Pass (2 simultaneous sideways passes)

Bounce

  • Basic Version: Bounce
  • Description: Drop a poker chip so it bounces off the table and lands on top of a chip stack.
  • Tutorial: Flop2River.com instructions for the Chip Bounce
  • Comments: For a higher bounce, either drop the chip from a higher position or throw it down at the table. Some people call the throw a Bounce and the drop a Dribble Bounce (or Drop Bounce). The harder variations, like the 666 Bounce, are mostly pure luck, so stick with the simpler variations that you can succeed with in a few tries.
  • Examples: Bounce Back (toss a chip and catch it between two chips after a bounce off the table), Fountain (two chips bounce simultaneously between and onto two stacks), Moon Landing (throw a chip onto a stack), Flip Bounce (flip a chip into the air before it bounces), Bounce Twice (bounce over stack then back onto it), and 666 Bounce (same as Bounce Twice but from a toss in the air instead of a downward throw)

Miscellaneous

  • Basic Version: N/A
  • Description: Any other chip trick that doesn’t fit into one of the above categories.
  • Tutorial: N/A
  • Comments: Here’s your chance to invent your own chip trick (and name it after yourself).
  • Examples: Evelyn Ng Chip Sweep (spread a stack of chips out on a table, then sweep them back up; Seth Engstrom tutorial), Mexican Jumping Chip (hang one chip off the edge of one stack and hit down on it with another stack to have it end up on top of the second stack; video where it immediately follows a Bounce), Unwrap Recapture (start with a 3-chip stack, toss the middle one in the air, and catch it back in the middle), Demon Recapture (same as Unwrap Recapture but with a bounce off your leg), Rollercoaster (roll a chip from your hand down your arm, bounce it off your bicep, and catch it between 2 chips), Chip Snap (more annoyance than trick), and Chip Juggling (simple 3 “ball” juggle, but you could do almost any standard juggling trick)4

Footnotes:

  1. The ‘J’ in “J-Factor” stands for “jump”.
  2. The part that’s cut off at the end is the Butterfly Balance: balancing the four chips on the finger tips.
  3. PokerStars referred to the Knuckle Roll as the Caterpillar in an ad, but most people use that name for a Butterfly trick.
  4. Poker Chip Tower Building is not listed here, as it’s more art than chip trick.

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Stan’s Lists – Poker Player Nicknames Explained


[RR] “Did you know that Steve Dannenmann’s nickname is Taxman?” Roderick the Rock asked Stan.

[SS] “Of course”, Stan the Stat affirmed. “Poker Player Nicknames is another one of my favorite lists! Should’ve mentioned it earlier.”

[RR] “Such a great handle for a successful poker player. As the Beatles sang, ‘one for you, nineteen for me’. Who else is on your list?”

The Top 100 Poker Player Nicknames With Explanations

Nickname Player Explanation
Action Dan Dan Harrington Ironic nickname given his usually tight play
Amarillo Slim Thomas Preston Tall and thin, and lived in Amarillo, Texas
The Ambassador of Poker Mike Sexton Has done a lot of work to popularize poker, including television commentating for the World Poker Tour
Back to Back Layne Flack From winning consecutive Legends of Poker events in Los Angeles in 1999; a.k.a. “The Alien”
The Bald Eagle Steve Zolotow For his resemblance to the American national bird
Bird Guts Gavin Smith From his proposed professional wrestling name when his brother’s high school friends told them it would be a good profession for him; a.k.a. “Caveman”
BoostedJ Justin Smith For his love of cars (“boosted” = “turbo-charged”)
Chino David Rheem Because he looks Chinese, although he’s actually Korean-American
Chip David Reese For his ability to win most of the chips at the table
Clever Piggy Allen Cunningham Wordplay on his last name (“cunning” + “ham”)
Cowboy Hoyt Corkins Wears a cowboy hat and boots at the table; a.k.a. “Nightmare” and “Mr. Move All In”
Crazy Horse Ram Vaswani For his alternately careful and erratic playing style; a.k.a. “The Looks” from an “Esquire” magazine article
The Croc Billy Argyros Australian who wears crocodile-shaped hats and crocodile-adorned shirts
Dandy Crandell Addington Liked to wear a suit and tie at the table
Darkhorse Todd Brunson For an early tournament that he won despite being a relative unknown
Devilfish David Ulliott For the poisonous fish which can be fatal if prepared incorrectly (bestowed by Stephen Au-Yeung in 1997; “You are a devilfish, aren’t you?”)
Diamond Joe Joe Hachem Won first WPT title at the Five Diamonds Poker Classic (Bellagio)
Downtown Chad Brown Rhyme based on being born and raised in New York City
The Dragon David Pham Derived from his rail repeatedly exclaiming, “You on fire!”
The Duchess of Poker Annie Duke Wordplay on her last name
durrrr Tom Dwan Online nickname meant to help put opponents on tilt (originally used on Party Poker in 2004)
E-Dog Erick Lindgren Nicknamed in San Pablo by a Filipino player he was beating, who said, “E, you dog”
El Matador Carlos Mortensen Born in Ecuador but raised in Spain
ElkY Bertrand Grospellier Short for “Elkantar”, his RPG character (Grospellier was formerly a top WarCraft [and StarCraft] player)
Eskimo Paul Clark Looks like the eskimo on the Alaskan Airlines logo
The Finn Patrick Antonius Born and raised in Finland
The First Lady of Poker Linda Johnson For her long poker career and other work in the industry (bestowed by Mike Sexton)
The Flying Dutchman Marcel Luske Born in the Netherlands
Fordman Dennis Phillips Sold Ford trucks
Fossilman Greg Raymer Collects fossils and uses a trilobite as a card protector
Foucault Andrew Brokos Online nickname from the French philosopher, Michel Foucault, as Brokos majored in philosophy
Full Blown Tilt Greg Mueller For his explosive conduct at the table; a.k.a. “FBT” for short
Furst Out Rafe Furst Wordplay on his last name from the 2003 WSOP Main Event, when it took him only 11 minutes to become the first player to bust out
Gentleman Jack Jack Keller Ironic nickname from his days as a stock boy
Golden Boy Jamie Gold Wordplay on his last name and his youthful appearance
The Grand Old Man Johnny Moss One of the first Texas Hold ‘Em players, and winner of the first two World Series of Poker crowns
Grand Rapids Tom Tom McEvoy Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
The Great Dane Gus Hansen Born in Denmark
The Greek Jimmy Snyder Greek-American (born as Dimetrios Georgios Synodinos)
The Grinder Michael Mizrachi Solid, consistent player who “grinds” his way through tournaments
Happy Jeff Shulman For his positive disposition
Hot Chips Tiffany Michelle For her poker chip tricks and the “M*A*S*H” character Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan
Iceman Huck Seed For his extremely calm demeanor
Iceman Jeff Lisandro For his cold and calculating play
Isildur1 Viktor Blom Online nickname from “The Lord of the Rings” character1
Isser Peter Eastgate His real-life nickname (I don’t know what it means though); a.k.a. “Icegate”
Jennicide Jennifer Leigh From her teenage alias on hacking bulletin boards
Jesus Chris Ferguson Looks like Jesus Christ
Joan Chip Jett For the “I Love Rock and Roll” singer
Johnny World John Hennigan Friend called him that because he was a world-class pool and poker player who traveled around the world
The Kid Joe Cada Became youngest WSOP Main Event champion at age 21 in 2009
The Kid Stu Ungar Became youngest WSOP Main Event champion at age 26 in 1980 (surpassed by Phil Hellmuth in 1989) and looked even younger; a.k.a. “Stuey” and “The Comeback Kid”
Kid Poker Daniel Negreanu Became youngest WSOP bracelet winner at age 23 in 1998 (broken in 2004); also very young looking, with child-like enthusiasm for the game
The King Amir Vahedi Wordplay on his first name, which means an independent ruler or chieftain?
The Knife Martin de Knijff Wordplay on his last name for his playing style
Kwikfish Paul Wasicka Nicknamed by a frustrated online opponent
Lady Maverick Vanessa Rousso From a $25,000 buy-in tournament in which she sold off shares of herself, like in the Mel Gibson version of the movie “Maverick” (bestowed by a relative); a.k.a. “Pokerness”
Luckbox John Juanda For his apparent good fortune at cards; a.k.a. “JJ”
Mad Genius of Poker Mike Caro For his deep-thinking strategy
The Magician Antonio Esfandiari Formerly a professional magician
The Master Men Nguyen Nicknamed “The Young Master” by one of his poker students in 1991, but he retorted that he wasn’t young
The Mathematician David Sklansky For his logical, mathematical approach to the game
Miami John Cernuto Lives in Miami, Florida
Mister Cool Sammy Farha For his demeanor; often keeps an unlit cigarette in his mouth
Mixed Games Kristy Gazes For her preferred type of poker
Money Chris Moneymaker Abbreviation of his last name
The Monk Andy Black Renounced all his possessions and lived as a Buddhist monk for five years
The Mouth Mike Matusow For his loquaciousness
The Mouth from Down Under Tony Guoga For his loquaciousness; a.k.a. “Tony G”
Napoleon David Benyamine Born in Paris, France; a.k.a. Degenyamine
Noel J.J. Furlong Born on Christmas Day
Numbers Berry Johnston For his calculating play?
The Orient Express Johnny Chan Born in China; a.k.a. “The Orangeman”, as he usually has an orange with him (originally to counter the then-pervasive cigarette smoke)
The Owl Bobby Baldwin For his ability to read his opponents’ cards; with his eyeglasses, looks like an owl (possibly bestowed by Doyle Brunson)
Poker Babe Erica Schoenberg For her looks
The Poker Brat Phil Hellmuth For his immature rants, often aimed at his opponent’s perceived poor play
PokerKat Kathy Liebert Wordplay on her first name
The Prince of Poker Scotty Nguyen From his fashion style (lots of bling) and attitude; a.k.a. “The Train”
The Professor Howard Lederer For his calculated, studious approach to the game (bestowed by poker player and commentator Jesse May); a.k.a. “Bubs” (was “Bubba” before he had gastric bypass surgery)
Professor Backwards Ted Forrest For his unconventional style of play; a.k.a. “The Suicide King”, “The Hitman”, and “Spooky”
Puggy Walter Pearson From a childhood accident that disfigured his nose; a.k.a. “Puggy Wuggy”
Raptor David Benefield From his AOL Instant Messenger name that he chose when he was only ten years old; a.k.a. “Bebop86” for the anime series “Cowboy Bebop”
The Razor John Phan Wordplay on “raiser” for his sharp play (also was a fan of the Razor phone)
Robin Hood of Poker Barry Greenstein For several years, donated all his tournament winnings to charity; since 2006 has donated his net earnings instead
The Rock Andy Bloch Rhyme based on his generally tight play
Sailor Bryan Roberts Served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War
Seiborg Erik Seidel For his calculating play; a.k.a. “Sly”
The Shadow Jerry Yang Because “he was like their shadows that followed them everywhere” (bestowed by fellow players)
Shaniac Shane Schleger Wordplay on his first name plus “Maniac”
The Shark Humberto Brenes From his shark card protector
Sominex Mark Gregorich For his blandness, which will knock you out like the sleeping pill
Supernova Dario Minieri For the top status in PokerStars’ VIP program
Taxman Steve Dannenmann From his job as a CPA
Texas Dolly Doyle Brunson Born and raised in Texas; “Dolly” came from Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder’s mispronunciation of “Doyle”; a.k.a. “The Godfather of Poker”
The Tiger Woods of Poker Phil Ivey For being at the top of his profession like the golfer; a.k.a. “Poison”, wordplay on his last name, and “No Home Jerome”, for his fake ID when he played underage in Atlantic City
Tiltboy Phil Gordon From his California poker group known as the Tiltboys; a.k.a. “Tallphil”
Treetop Jack Straus 6’6″ tall former basketball player
Unabomber Phil Laak Looks like murderer Ted Kaczynski when he wears a gray sweat jacket zipped all the way up, with the hood over his head, and sunglasses hiding his eyes
Whatta Player Kenny Smith For his repeated expression “what a player”, which he would yell while waving his hat whenever he won a pot
X-22 Paul Magriel As a professional backgammon player, he played a practice tournament against himself, which player X-22 won.

Footnotes:

  1. In 2009, Blom was only identified by his handle yet was competing successfully at the highest online stakes. His real identity wasn’t revealed until 2011, after he had signed on with PokerStars.

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